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Old 03-24-2013, 05:38 PM
 
Location: In the city
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My parents were baby boomers. My mother was in thrall to my father and stood by silently while he physically, emotionally and sexually abused us, his three daughters. She recently revealed that she knew all along but did nothing because she "didn't want him to leave."

This woman has always needed a man. She has had 20 year period of chasing a married guy, spewing venom when he went back to his wife and kids. She has dangled property in front of him, gotten him jobs, bought motorcycles for him, etc. When her own daughter was on the street without a place to stay she refused shelter for her because HIS alcoholic brother needed a free room.

Recently my therapist introduced me to the idea of the generational victim-- someone who is raised in a wholly dysfunctional environment that is sanctified by a generational mindset. Now, don't get me wrong, I know plenty of baby boomer women who are independent and not looking for male approval, but this is the idea. Interesting that NONE of my mothers daughters were anxious to marry or replay this situation. I am being asked to acknowledge that she herself is a victim (yes, likely) of not only her family but of a wider social view.

What do you think? Perhaps some women who are my mother's age can give their insight. This is hard for me to swallow.
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:46 PM
 
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So far as myself, I find it easier as an "outsider looking in" at other people's dysfunctions, to understand why they are the way they are. I can be more patient with people if I understand them.

However if I were in your shoes, like you said, that would be a tough pill to swallow! I would have a difficult time with any sort of understanding or forgiveness. I'm probably not helping your therapy any by saying this, but that is how I feel.
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:37 PM
 
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I do think that can be the case, but there are many others who do not make excuses because of their circumstances. She sounds more selfish and fearful than being somehow the victim to me. I think of people who leave communist islands, overthrow apartheid, the Civil Rights movement and becomes clear that change comes about because people care and are willing to sacrifice.

My mother is of her generation and I can assure you that she would never permit that to happen.
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:49 PM
 
3,942 posts, read 3,717,014 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by confusedasusual View Post
My parents were baby boomers. My mother was in thrall to my father and stood by silently while he physically, emotionally and sexually abused us, his three daughters. She recently revealed that she knew all along but did nothing because she "didn't want him to leave."

This woman has always needed a man. She has had 20 year period of chasing a married guy, spewing venom when he went back to his wife and kids. She has dangled property in front of him, gotten him jobs, bought motorcycles for him, etc. When her own daughter was on the street without a place to stay she refused shelter for her because HIS alcoholic brother needed a free room.

Recently my therapist introduced me to the idea of the generational victim-- someone who is raised in a wholly dysfunctional environment that is sanctified by a generational mindset. Now, don't get me wrong, I know plenty of baby boomer women who are independent and not looking for male approval, but this is the idea. Interesting that NONE of my mothers daughters were anxious to marry or replay this situation. I am being asked to acknowledge that she herself is a victim (yes, likely) of not only her family but of a wider social view.

What do you think? Perhaps some women who are my mother's age can give their insight. This is hard for me to swallow.
My mom's said things that's hard for me to swallow. She comes from the very traditional "Man wears the pants, and has the last word" background.

I've been endangered in your situation too, and many times have gotten angry over "why?":

Why, as a daughter, I wasn't protected?
How could such atrocities happen, and no one was there to protect me?

From your therapist's words, to what I've realized for myself: sometimes, much of how our parents treat us is really what they knew.

Call it intergenerational trauma, but yes, trauma carried over from one generation onto the next happens.

Here's where hope occurs- with your insight, the cycle ends here.

You know better. When you know better, you're empowered. Some people know but are still blind and can't see.

A part of letting go of the hurt is to forgive as a way to understand (even as much as it hurts), that's the only way that you can truly sever ties to the emotional wounds you feel. Otherwise, each day will be a battle. Sometimes, when you gain a depth of understanding to the cycle of abuse and patterns that occur in dysfunctional environments, there is a sense of peace inside when you can mend what you felt you could not understand or see at that time, but now all makes sense. Hope this wasn't too wordy, but I wish you luck. Life can be so twisted.

At the end of the day, you survived and only you can create the kind of life for yourself you did not have while growing up. You have options, unlike in childhood when your options were limited to your parent. Now, you parent yourself however way you possibly can to make a change for the better!
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:00 AM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
15,306 posts, read 11,487,448 times
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I am a boomer. My peers were not like you describe your mother. It wasn't as easy for us to have careers, but I didn't know many women who would have stood by if their children were being abused by their fathers. Many of us did get our kids into school and then go on to have pretty successful careers before retiring.

What I think happens is that dysfunctional families pass on dysfunction from generation to generation. And there is always that unstable and insecure person, whatever generation or gender, that has a hard time handling life.

IMO, people make choices.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:47 AM
 
Location: In the city
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I agree with both of you, silibran and kat949. People repeat what they are taught but they don't have to.

To me, it seems that most of us have an internal compass which points out what is good/bad, right/wrong and gives us a tug in the direction we should go. Whether or not my mother was schooled in the need for a man or whether it arose from some larger generational view, she should have had that compass pointing toward the "right" thing which was protecting her innocent offspring.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:37 AM
 
906 posts, read 473,336 times
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My mother is similar to your description, but I don't think its fair to blame a whole generation for one person. Some parents want a family, some just want an image of a family. Despite what people say you don't have choice. It really is just the luck of the draw.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,358 posts, read 4,457,268 times
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Baby boomer has nothing to do with it. I don't know why you even mentioned that. The things you describe are not part of a baby boomer's upbringing. Being a baby boomer is more than being born at a certain time the same as being a soccer mom doesn't just mean your kid plays soccer.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Canada
3,313 posts, read 2,269,655 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by confusedasusual View Post
Recently my therapist introduced me to the idea of the generational victim-- someone who is raised in a wholly dysfunctional environment that is sanctified by a generational mindset.
What you describe is not, in general, the generational mindset of the baby boomers. It was just the opposite! It was the baby boomer generation in the 70s that fought vigorously and successfully for women's rights and slowly changed the mindset of their own traditional parents!

What happened in your family appears to a multi-generational mindset similar to the mindset you see some families who stay on welfare through the generations. For some reason the cycle is hard to break. To them it seems "normal".

It's kind of hard for outsiders to understand. In the other thread you described how your mother talks to you, even before her current situation. I don't understand why you would listen to that. It's a mysterious bond to me.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:04 PM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,089,276 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdnirene View Post
What you describe is not, in general, the generational mindset of the baby boomers. It was just the opposite! It was the baby boomer generation in the 70s that fought vigorously and successfully for women's rights and slowly changed the mindset of their own traditional parents!

What happened in your family appears to a multi-generational mindset similar to the mindset you see some families who stay on welfare through the generations. For some reason the cycle is hard to break. To them it seems "normal".

It's kind of hard for outsiders to understand. In the other thread you described how your mother talks to you, even before her current situation. I don't understand why you would listen to that. It's a mysterious bond to me.
I kept away from my mother, and indeed the rest of my family except for my sisters, for almost 20 years. The only reason that I am in contact with her now is that she is dying and I have been trying to assist with her care to help my siblings. Seeing her and dealing with her again (and all the associated issues) have brought up a lot of feelings that I am working on in therapy. I have created a life on my own for two decades without her support, but my siblings have attempted to have more of a relationship with her. I admit that I was not prepared to be "hoovered" back in. Instead of trying to run from this (and I have certainly done that) I am trying to understand it.
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